Ephesians 4:5 – “One Faith”

Part of the appeal for Christians to endeavor “to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3) is the reality that the God of heaven has given us “one faith.” Not multiple faiths, but one.

“Faith” is from the Greek word “πίστις/pistis,” which can refer to one’s personal faith, one’s faithfulness, or that which is called “the faith.” While it is true that there is only one Savior, who is the lone Mediator between God and humans, the meaning of “one faith” is not, “Well, we all believe the same thing: we believe Jesus is God’s Son.” No, when we observe what is recorded elsewhere in the Bible, it is clear that “one faith” refers to the gospel system of teaching.

Look at what we read in Acts 6:7: “. . . and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.” That statement identifies what lost people did to be converted: they obeyed “the faith.” That is the same thing as “obey the truth,” which results in souls being purified (1 Peter 1:22). The “one faith” equals “the faith,” which is the gospel.

At one point in his life, Saul of Tarsus tried to destroy “the faith” (Galatians 1:23). After his conversion, what did he do? He preached “the faith” (Galatians 1:23). Yet, as Paul described his role, he would say that he preached “the gospel” (Romans 1:15). Again, “one faith” is the same as “the faith,” which is the gospel system of faith.

Here is great news for mankind: the “one faith” is unchanging. While some cry for a “new” gospel, something that is more “up-to-date,” we need to accept this reality: the Lord is not going to give us anything different from “the faith.” By God’s power and wisdom, the gospel’s message is “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3). The “one faith” is compared to a seed, an incorruptible seed which lives and abides forever (1 Peter 1:23-25).

The “one faith” includes facts which humans must believe in order to be saved (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). It includes commands from God which must be obeyed (Hebrews 5:9). “The faith” also includes warnings to be heeded (Matthew 10:28), as well as promises of blessings to be received (Acts 2:38). In short, “one faith” is the message that men need for the salvation of their souls . . . it is all-sufficient for every need.

Note some words/terms associated with the “one faith.” It is truth (John 17:17), it is power (Romans 1:16), it is life (John 6:63,68), and it is light (2 Corinthians 4:4). With God as our Helper, let us keep on studying, living, proclaiming, and defending the “one faith.”

— Roger D. Campbell